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How To Hand In Your Notice In A Professional Manner

Diverse Employment's Career Advice Series

Leigh Gillatt  •  Careers Advice

How To Hand In Your Notice In A Professional Manner
How To Hand In Your Notice In A Professional Manner

Deciding to leave your job and handing in your notice can be a difficult process, but it is important to know how to hand in your notice in a professional manner.

Here at Diverse Employment, we’ve talked before about how to choose a career, what you should put in a CV, and have helped numerous job seekers to find a new position, but all the career planning in the world can still leave you unprepared when it comes to actually handing in your notice for your current job.

Whether you've landed the new job of your dreams, or you have chosen to step out into the great career unknown, it is natural to feel eager to move on and hand in your notice for your current job.

But before you start turning into to work late and taking extended lunch breaks, stop and take note, as your last few weeks in your current role could prove to be as important as your first few weeks there.

Of course, thousands of people every year decide that it’s time for a change, whether it is because they hate their job, or have just found one with a better salary & benefits, or more chances for career progression. So, if it’s time for you to leave, here’s all you need to know about handing in your notice:

It is essential that you handle your departure as professionally and considerately as possible before handing in your notice. Don’t breathe a word of your pending resignation to anyone in the company until you have had the chance to resign formally, your current manager won’t take too kindly to being the last to get to know.

The following six steps will help you hand in your notice in as professional manner as possible:

1. Read Your Contract

Take a look through your contract of employment to find any relevant information that may slow down your career development plan, such as a lengthy notice period you’ll be expected to work.

This may affect your decisions as to when you want to hand in your notice, such as whether you’ll want to go straight into your new career from your old one, or if you’d like a little time off between jobs.

In certain roles you may be put on gardening leave, during your notice period for example, which will inevitably give you some time off between jobs.

Being familiar with your contract can also help if any dispute arises, so it’s always good to take a look beforehand. For example, as with the recruitment industry, you may have restrictive covenants in place that you will need to be aware of.

2. Write Your Letter

Next, if it’s time to leave, ensure that you resign from your job in writing.

Be sure to date your resignation letter and keep a copy for yourself, as well as handing it to your manager in person (no emails!).

Keep your letter short and sweet, detail your preferred notice period (ideally at least two weeks), and don’t go into too much detail about why you are leaving.

This is the most professional way to hand in your notice, which will allow you to leave a positive impression and carry on your chosen career path without burning any bridges. After all, you never know who you’ll bump into in your career or in the future.

Rather than nit-picking issues you had with the company or the position you are leaving, it is far better to simply say that you’ve got to a point where you need challenge yourself with something new.

Learn more about How To Write A Resignation Letter Here.

3. Choose The Right Moment

When it comes to handing in your notice, another piece of careers advice is to be sure that you pick the right moment to do so.

If your manager is busy, schedule in a time to speak to them. Many people tend to have a sixth sense about these things, so just asking for a meeting may prompt them to do so quickly.

For obvious reasons, Monday mornings and Friday afternoons aren’t ideal for dropping a bombshell, neither is right at the end of the day, so avoid these times if you can.

Once you have your ideal moment or meeting in place, don’t forget to take the letter with you and don’t go around the houses, get straight to the point. Inform your manager that you are handing in your resignation and that you will work out the notice period, if requested to do so.

Now could also be another time to show your professionalism by thanking your Manager for all their career advice, support and help they’ve given you.

4. Prepare For Other Possible Outcomes

People resign every day, so it isn’t something that managers are unfamiliar with. In most cases, a resignation is received graciously, and notice periods are often negotiable. However, it’s always worth considering the following scenarios:

  • You may be asked to leave immediately. This often happens in jobs that handle sensitive data, whether that’s financial or in services industries. Expect this one if you are leaving to start a new job with a competitor too.
  • Your resignation may be met with an offer of a more money or some other incentive such as a company car or flexible working hours, would this convince you to stay? Think about the reasons that have lead you to want to leave your current position what opportunities are truly left for you at your current company?
  • Another interference could be that you may be asked to work a longer notice period than you were expecting, which could undoubtedly clash with your start date at your new job. Preempt this by looking at your holiday entitlement prior to the meeting to see if you have any outstanding time that you could negotiate with.

5. Telling Colleagues

When it comes to telling your colleagues about your move, you should only do so if your manager is happy for you to. When you are able to discuss your imminent departure, make sure that you approach all key people that you work with and acknowledge the news.

If you are being kept on working your notice period, you’ll more than likely be working on some form of handover so that your colleagues aren’t left in the lurch when you leave. After all, you want them to remember you fondly, not as someone who disappeared and left them to pick up the mess.

6. Leave Positively

Whether you leave immediately, go on gardening leave or work out your notice period, staying positive on your career path is a must.

Ensure you take time to personally thank and shake hands with your manager and other significant members of staff who have contributed to your progression at the company.

If you are fondly remembered as a positive, hardworking employee, you never know how it could help you in the future. You may run across colleagues again at other companies, either as managers or in your own team, and they may even have some career development opportunities to offer you! So, whichever direction your new career takes you, handing in your notice in a professional manner is certainly the way to go.

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